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Monday, December 12, 2011

Ilka Tanya Payán Park

I often come upon unexpected parks while heading for known ones. That was how I happened upon Ilka Tanya Payán Park in Washington Heights, a triangle at the intersection of Broadway and Morgan Place between 156th and 157th Streets.

Its trees, benches, and sculptures are what make it more than just a place to walk through to get to the 1 Train. The two chickens below – no, wait, it's a chicken and a rooster, I think – are called "Bantam Pair" and are by sculptor Peter Woytuk, who's also responsible for the huge elephants in Columbus Circle and a whole string of other sculptures along the length of upper Broadway in Manhattan.

Payán was a Dominican actress (Angelica, Mi Vida), lawyer, and AIDS activist who died of AIDS in 1996. Six years later, the park was named for her. I imagine she would have been pleased.